Re: "Steering committee" discussion

Matt Wilson

On Wed, Sep 30, 2020 at 04:27 AM, alexis richardson wrote:


Thanks. A few quick comments (topline for speed).

CNCF Incubation tests for production use and technical DD. It has a
high bar. Graduation is oriented towards sustainability including
some of the matters you touch on below. Graduation is more about
sustainability and governance, than about production use. Those are
all related in the end of course.

I am a big fan of regular Q&A surveys with maintainers and users "and
more". They are a good way to assess health, eg "do you think the
project will make more progress in the next 12mo than in the last
12mo? why", and "are you aware of any bad actors".
It may just be me, but there seems to be a lot of focus on the
possibility of "bad actors" and mitigating the possible harm that they
can cause. When we build tools like surveys, questionnaires, and
templates to help us in evaluative processes, we need to be aware of
biases that they can introduce or reinforce. These biases can be both
beneficial and harmful. If you ask too much about bad actors, it can
cause or introduce a perception that open-source has a pervasive problem
with bad actors, when in fact (based only on my personal experience) it
is a very rare circumstance. I think each of those rare circumstances
are exceptionally complex, and addressing the problem will likely
require a set of unique corrective actions, potentially in multiple

There's no magic solution to fixing a dysfunctional community.

In terms of attracting contributors: complex topic, but the SC can
help by being a lighthouse showing many ways to get involved, by
showcasing what direction and features need building, and by having
clear contributor paths.
Implementing the SC concept may be one way that a project community
builds to be a healthy, well functioning community. I'm not aware of
good examples of how this has been demonstrated in practice, and I think
that the TOC should expand the areas where evaluating what is Perception
vs Reality beyond the small mention in the DD review template [1] that
exists today

* Perception vs Reality: Is there lots of buzz, but the software is
flaky/untested/unused? Does it have a bad reputation for some flaw
that has already been addressed?

Reputation/perception is usually rooted in some kind of reality about
how things are functioning in practice, like was the case in my Xen
project example. You can check all the boxes for CNCF graduation and
still get off course. The exceptionally rare (as far as I'm aware)
circumstances where people want to capitalize on the common goodwill and
brand equity of Open Source and the CNCF (along with all the valuable
benefits and services that CNCF is able to provide to its member
projects) without being committed to building an inclusive, well
functioning, non-discriminatory community and ecosystem won't be blocked
by a multi-organization contributor requirement, a steering committee, a
longevity plan, a contributor ladder, or a quarterly roadmap.



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